tubular bells

tubular bell

noun
Often, tubular bells. one of a set of tuned metal tubes of different lengths used as a musical instrument, suspended vertically from a frame and struck with a mallet to produce sounds or melodies.
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World English Dictionary
tubular bells
 
pl n
music an orchestral percussion instrument of 18 chromatically tuned metal tubes suspended vertically and struck near the top

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

tubular bells

series of tuned brass (originally bronze) tubes of graded length, struck with wooden hammers to produce a sound. They first appeared in England in an 1886 performance of Arthur Sullivan's Golden Legend in Coventry. Large tubular bells were at first used as a substitute for church bells in towers. Smaller tubes were later built to be controlled from an organ manual or, in the orchestra, to be played directly by a percussionist.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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